Who’ll win race for football’s greatest prize?

8:00am Tuesday 8th July 2014

By Dan Robinson

ENGLAND’S World Cup dream might have long withered away but football fever has not died in Oxfordshire.

The competition has now reached the last four and county residents hope their countries could lift the trophy in Brazil.

Brazil and Germany meet tonight in the first semi-final, before Argentina face the Netherlands tomorrow for a place in the final at the Estadio Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

Dutchman Wybo Wiersma, 32, is hoping his country can finally lift the trophy for the first time after losing in the final in 1974, 1978 and 2010.

He praised manager Louis Van Gaal for his “brilliant decision” in bringing on substitute goalkeeper Tim Krul before the penalty shootout against Costa Rica in Saturday’s quarter-final victory, as he saved two spot-kicks to send the Netherlands through.

He said: “It was just what was needed at the right time. Van Gaal is one of the main reasons why we’ve done so well and has made a big difference.

“I’m slightly biased but I do expect the Netherlands to get to the final.

“If we play against Brazil it might be possible to win but Germany would be trickier, although that would be the greater victory as there’s a lasting rivalry between the two countries.”

Argentinian Leo Sagor believes fate will help his country reach the final, where his dream would be to beat arch-rivals Brazil on their own turf.

He said: “I’m going to trust the luck of Argentina rather than be rational. It’s been a World Cup of surprises and disappointments, and I think it could all be set for us to win.”

Brazil-born Michael Maia Schlussel, 35, said he is “proud” of his country’s efforts so far but admits it will be more difficult after losing star striker Neymar to injury.

He said: “Neymar is by far our most talented player so of course he will be a great loss, but we are improving as the competition runs.

“Watching our supporters and players singing the anthem has been the best part of the World Cup and shows to the world our pride of being Brazilian.”

Germany fan Ben Schaper, 25, said: “It has been a great World Cup with many goals and surprises.

“Our performance in the quarter-final against Algeria was worrying but if we get back to our regular form we can reach the final.”

What the fans say: 

Oxford Mail:

Michael Maia Schlussel

 

Oxford Mail:

Ben Schaper

 

Oxford Mail:

Wybo Wiersma

 

Oxford Mail:

Leo Sagor

Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS, SPORT and JAYDEN depending on what services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.


Our top stories

Building giant is fined £525k after dad’s death

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Thursday 24th July 2014

A CONSTRUCTION firm was fined £525,000 yesterday for health and safety breaches which led to the death of a father-of-two.

Nursery’s 40th birthday raises funds for refurbishment

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Thursday 24th July 2014

HUNDREDS of pounds were raised at a nursery’s 40th birthday party - with money raised to hopefully give it a head start on the next 40 years.

Man denies inciting girl, 15, into sexual activity

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

6:30am Thursday 24th July 2014

A 25-YEAR-OLD has gone on trial accused of inciting a teenage girl to engage in sexual activity after they met playing Xbox games online.

‘We’ll back you if there is more affordable housing’

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Thursday 24th July 2014

THE church at the centre of the Jericho boatyard development in Oxford has said it will only support it if there is more affordable housing.

Drink-binge driver is jailed over fuel spill

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

8:30am Wednesday 23rd July 2014

A DRINK-driver who caused a fuel spill after crashing his wife’s car into two trucks has been jailed for 16 months.

Vigil for ex-Gaza Scholar as wife and children are killed

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Wednesday 23rd July 2014

A FORMER Oxford Brookes Gaza Scholar is in intensive care and six members of his family dead after their home was bombed by Israeli forces.

 

Back

© Copyright 2001-2014 Newsquest Media Group

Oxford Mail: site_logo http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk

Click 2 Find Business Directory http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/trade_directory/